Dems Rally As DeVos Vote Deadlocked

Tuesday, February 7th 2017, 7:48 am
By: News 9

In Washington, the showdown over the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education secretary is deadlocked at a 50-50 split.

At this very moment, Senate Democrats are speaking on the chamber floor in protest of DeVos and they've been speaking since about noon yesterday.

The Democrats are trying to sway at least one more Republican to vote against DeVos. Currently, all 46 Democrats will vote against her as well as the two Independent Senators. Last week, Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski listened to their constituents' phone calls and will also vote against DeVos.

Democrats need only one more vote, from a Republican, to block DeVos' confirmation.

If they're looking to Oklahoma for that vote, they won't have any luck. Both Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford expressed support for DeVos. On Friday, Lankford went on the record for his support. He praised DeVos for her promotion of school choice and local control on schools.

Both Inhofe and Lankford have heard from voters. We asked their offices just how many people have contacted them on DeVos. Senator Inhofe's team declined to release that information but Lankford's office says they've received 1,400 calls or letters in just the last week.

But last night, Senator Al Franken said in part, "- we would not accept a Treasury Secretary who doesn't understand multiplication. So why accept an education secretary who doesn't understand public schools?"

The confirmation vote is set for around noon today. If it does come down to a 50-50 vote, the tie-breaking vote goes to Vice President Mike Pence. He has already confirmed he will vote in favor of DeVos.